Pacifica places second in tourney

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Pacifica High dominated pool play and the gold playoff bracket of a girls volleyball tournament held at Kennedy High on Sept. 27.

The Mariners advanced to the championship match of the gold bracket but they suffered their first loss of the day to Palos Verdes Peninsula High in two sets, 26-24, 25-7.

“This last game was a really tough game but they showed what they can do,” said Pacifica’s head coach Cory Cahill.

Pacifica High dominated pool play and the gold playoff bracket of a girls volleyball tournament held at Kennedy High on Sept. 27.

The Mariners advanced to the championship match of the gold bracket but they suffered their first loss of the day to Palos Verdes Peninsula High in two sets, 26-24, 25-7.

“This last game was a really tough game but they showed what they can do,” said Pacifica’s head coach Cory Cahill.

The final set of the match saw the Panthers pull away from a Pacifica side that let frustrations overwhelm their typically poised back line.

Earlier, Pacifica showed its ability to persevere and succeed when the Mariners put away a gnawing Valencia High side, 26-24, 20-25,15-10.

Pacifica led off the first set of the semifinal match with a tight victory, but the Tigers forced a third set after they held off the Mariners’ top hitters. Peninsula’s resistance did not hold up and the Mariners wrapped up a quick final set to land themselves in the final.

“Our big hitters really proved themselves and they played consistent. They put it to them,” said Cahill.

The Mariners' success at the recent tournament has shown true throughout the team’s preseason performances.

“I was confident going in to the tournament because we have had a great preseason up to this point, but I didn’t know what to expect,” said Cahill. “I’m really proud of how they pushed themselves and they’ve really progressed this summer.”

Mariners’ Willa Allshouse and Erika Ray led the stacked Pacifica frontline during the tournament. The duo displayed high quality hits despite standing at two very different heights. Allshouse, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter, dominated defenses through her accuracy. Her ability to get up in the air and deliver precise hits provided her side a great deal of relief in crucial situations.

“She’s been killing it,” said Cahill. “She’s one of my biggest hitters by far.”

Backed by Ray, a 6-foot-2 outside hitter, Pacifica has an exceptional frontline that can roll over teams. Ray showed off her abilities by gaining crucial blocks to help put away teams in pool play and in the playoffs.

Sights may be on Ray, usually the tallest player on the court, for making all the blocks but this year’s Pacifica side has great deal of depth.

“Jessica Reeser is one of my big middles. She’s played really well and my libero is always a rock, Judy Pham,” said Cahill.

The Kennedy tournament allowed many of the Mariners to shine but it also gave coach Cahill a look at some problem areas on his side that may need to be patched up.

“They tend to go in the games sometimes a little slow,” said Cahill. “So starting stronger is definitely our main thing. So skill-wise and game-wise there is always things to improve on but our biggest thing is learning how to start off strong."

Pacifica moves on to its first conference match of the season next week against Cypress High away from home on Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m.

The Mariners will be looking to fix what went wrong in the last set of the tournament by the time they face the Centurions.